Transcript of Frankel's Free Clinic March 15, 1999

RobFrankel (3/15/99 8:57 AM): Obviously, my ISP's server clock is off by three minuets, but I am here....

Terri (3/15/99 8:57 AM): Hi Rob

RobFrankel (3/15/99 8:58 AM): Make that three "minutes".

RobFrankel (3/15/99 8:58 AM): Greetings Terri...what's going today (still haven't had coffee)

Terri (3/15/99 8:59 AM): I just heard about your clinic this weekend and wanted to "lurk" and learn :)

Mike Best (3/15/99 9:00 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:00 AM): Okay, well it's still early. We get a bunch of people, anywhere from five or six to twenty, depending...

PDXchris (3/15/99 9:00 AM): Entered the room.

Mike Best (3/15/99 9:00 AM): Hi all (have my grande vanilla latte at hand)

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:00 AM): But you can feel free to ask anything you want. I'm here for one hour.

Jacob (3/15/99 9:00 AM): Entered the room.

Les Cseh (3/15/99 9:00 AM): Entered the room.

Les Cseh (3/15/99 9:01 AM): Hi, everyone .. my first time here ..

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:01 AM): WOW! Do I love punctuality!

Terri (3/15/99 9:01 AM): Hi Mike, Hi Les - my first time here too

Jacob (3/15/99 9:01 AM): Good snow-white morning to everyone here from New York.

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:02 AM): Hey, Les! Jacob! These are to veteran FrankelBees!

Terri (3/15/99 9:02 AM): brrrr no snow here in sunny Phoenix AZ Jacob!

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:02 AM): Mike and PDX Chris -- jump in with any questions/comments. We're a pretty informal but effective group.

Jacob (3/15/99 9:03 AM): Thanks, but I still haven't gotten my lifetime achievement award.

Les Cseh (3/15/99 9:03 AM): We just got mentioned in PC World's Answer Line column,

Mike Best (3/15/99 9:04 AM): anyone read Mohammed's' article in Clickz? I agree that a web design company needs to be more than just a code body shop - gotta have marketing nose.

Les Cseh (3/15/99 9:04 AM): and I'm looking for suggestions to maximize the exposure, i.e.

Mike Best (3/15/99 9:04 AM): I think I just mentioned an axiom ...

Jacob (3/15/99 9:04 AM): Rob, if I were to represent a client who had a TV/radio show and could plug the website there, would an online advertising campaign be necessary?

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:04 AM): That's always been a pet peeve of mine. As a matter of fact, I no longer hand off web projects to just one shop. I head a team of designers and developers.

Bruce (3/15/99 9:05 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:05 AM): Depends on the TV show, Jacob, but I'd still say yes. After all, the bulk of your traffic will be from onliners, not offliners jumping on to the web.

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:06 AM): Also, remember that a LOT of TV affiliates will NOT plug the URL on the air, because they're so paranoid about it pulling people away from the tube and lowering their ratings.

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:06 AM): This happened to us when I did a small project for "third Rock from the Sun"

Jacob (3/15/99 9:06 AM): True enough, but maybe, taking into account the exposure of radio/TV plugs, the budget would be better spent on developing a better/more robust website

Mike Best (3/15/99 9:06 AM): Rod: How do you choose who you use? (pre list days perhaps)

Mike Best (3/15/99 9:07 AM): Rod, rod? sorry, Rob!

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:07 AM): This goes into the question of budgets. You have to seriously look at the budget that you have and how you will apportion it. What's possible to do at $500 may not be at $300.

Scott Baker (3/15/99 9:07 AM): Entered the room.

Jacob (3/15/99 9:08 AM): We wouldn't have to worry about affiliates, this is a show that my client has complete control over.

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:08 AM): Similarly, what you do at $500 you might not do at $1000, because $1000 opens up other possibilities.

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:08 AM): (Les, hang in there, you're next)

Scott Baker (3/15/99 9:09 AM): The issue of TV vs. the web may become a positive marketing tool as new devices hit the market which will allow you to cruise the web and watch TV on the same screen.

Bruce (3/15/99 9:09 AM): Scott thank you for the Shield 2000 (Y2K) test disk

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:09 AM): Not knowing the budget or the terms of the campaign, I'd probably split the difference and assume that you have to do low level online listing, but not ads.

Les Cseh (3/15/99 9:09 AM): No probs!

Scott Baker (3/15/99 9:09 AM): Bruce, what results did you find?

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:10 AM): Possible, Scott, but not in the next few years, at

least. Even if the technology becomes available, adoption will take years.

Bruce (3/15/99 9:10 AM): I got a error with ..

Jacob (3/15/99 9:10 AM): True, I just figured maybe down the road we would back up the offline plugs with online sponsorships/etc. to back up the brand, but right now focus on developing the website and rely on offline traffic.

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:11 AM): Les,, what did you want to ask?

Les Cseh (3/15/99 9:11 AM): Shoot, have to disconnect for a bit .. back shortly ..

Scott Baker (3/15/99 9:11 AM): Rob, I have seen a demo of a PC-TV device that allows you to cruise the web and have a TV show running simultaneously. Screen within a screen.

Terri (3/15/99 9:11 AM): Jacob, what about the people who never watch TV but are online?

Bruce (3/15/99 9:11 AM): rotating..?? sorry memories jumped a cog .. I'll have to look back.

Scott Baker (3/15/99 9:11 AM): Bruce, I will get with you offline to discuss it. Perhaps I can help.

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:12 AM): Scott, Macs have had TV's integrated into them for years. And WebTV was supposed to hold that promise too. But neither have captured the nations attention.

Scott Baker (3/15/99 9:13 AM): Attention. Aha. critical point. I understand what you mean.

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:13 AM): The point is that Terri is right -- if they're already online, sang them there. Driving them from offline works, but if you low on funds, go where the fish are first.

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:13 AM): You should have heard those weenies in the conference room when they thought WebTV was going to revolutionize America!! Yeesh!

Jacob (3/15/99 9:14 AM): All good points, thanks for the feedback.

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:14 AM): They had a hard time GIVING the things away!

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:15 AM): Uh oh, I guess Les dropped off for technical reasons....

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:15 AM): PDX....what brings you by this morning?

Jacob (3/15/99 9:15 AM): Just to answer Terri's question, how many new fans would there be of Jason Alexander (just an e.g.) if he advertised his personal homepage online as opposed to mentioning it during an episode of Seinfeld?

PDXchris (3/15/99 9:16 AM): I spoke to you Friday about Jaclyn's show..

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:16 AM): (Incidentally, these chat transcripts are all spell checked before being posted to the archives)

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:16 AM): Did she ever respond to you?

PDXchris (3/15/99 9:17 AM): Negative ... but did here the same show 3 weeks running!

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:17 AM): I called her right after we spoke.

Terri (3/15/99 9:17 AM): Jacob, I think it would depend on where online he advertised it - if it was in a fan ezine, or celeb type ezine, he might get a lot of new fans

PDXchris (3/15/99 9:17 AM): I'll follow up.. don't mean to detract from this a.m.

Jacob (3/15/99 9:18 AM): But people have to like a celebrity, you can't just get new fans online. Or maybe you can, but it is much easier to delve into your established fanbase (i.e. the TV/radio crowd tuning in).

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:18 AM): Jacob, there's no question that from a product placement point of view, it can't hurt...look what ET (the movie) did for Reese's pieces candy.

Jacob (3/15/99 9:19 AM): Rob never ceases to amaze me with his ability to bring in movie-based metaphors for everything!

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:19 AM): I find that web growth -- really strong web site growth -- still is an internal function, driven by satisfied customers and referral.

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:20 AM): Would you rather I use those tired sports cliches? Go the whole nine yards?

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:20 AM): Tackle difficult issues?

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:20 AM): Knock a concept out of the park?

Jacob (3/15/99 9:20 AM): No, I love them, I'm a film buff myself.

Terri (3/15/99 9:21 AM): Jacob, the thing I would have to ask in that instance is how would someone online who never has seen that celeb even know about the show? Online advertising could garner new fans :)

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:21 AM): I need this from a snowbound kid in Brooklyn?!?!?!?!?

Les Cseh (3/15/99 9:21 AM): Entered the room.

Jacob (3/15/99 9:21 AM): Hey, hey, watch it Grandpa!

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:22 AM): Anyway, I find the celebrity angle interesting, mainly because they're so overused and badly used.

Jacob (3/15/99 9:23 AM): And they don't ever feel like spending too much money on their websites but $20 cigars are an appropriate expense.

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:25 AM): I find that way too many businesses rely on these celebs to stir up awareness, which is a great way to detract from your brand and waste money losing sales.

Les Cseh (3/15/99 9:25 AM): Now a good time for my question?

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:26 AM): Jump in Les

Les Cseh (3/15/99 9:26 AM): Thanks! I started by saying we just got a little mention in PC World's Answer Line column. We're getting lots of calls which is great. Now ..

Les Cseh (3/15/99 9:27 AM): I'm looking for ideas for leveraging this exposure. For one, does this give us any

Les Cseh (3/15/99 9:28 AM): credibility with the media for things like press releases, story ideas, etc. and if so, how do I mention it without turning them off?

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:29 AM): First, congratulations for getting a mention in PC World. That's a start. You'll find that, being the lemmings they are, the media eats that stuff up.

PDXchris (3/15/99 9:29 AM): Regarding celeb's... I'm always intrigued by the creation of a celeb, rather than an existing one. Allows creating the personality vs. trying to change peoples perception about an existing "famous name".

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:29 AM): In fact, the more you reference publications and their reviews/mentions, the more likely other media will pick you up and mention you.

Mike Best (3/15/99 9:30 AM): the net needs personalities... could create your own... the linux penguin a celebrity?

Les Cseh (3/15/99 9:31 AM): Would this reference go on something like a cover page for a press release?

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:31 AM): Whatever you did to get into PCWorld, now do to the other pubs, making sure to highlight the fact that PCWorld spotlighted you. And don't be afraid to quote them.

PDXchris (3/15/99 9:31 AM): We have Lloyd Center in Portland, OR....HUGE! So they created a gut named Lloyd. Great recognition.

PDXchris (3/15/99 9:31 AM): Ohh, Lloyd center is a mall.

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:32 AM): Hey, how about a guy with a bobbing head in a bubble? Talk about celebrity! Did you know that the L.A. Times, who wants to add me to their staff of columnists, doesn't want to use it!?!?

PDXchris (3/15/99 9:32 AM): And sorry, that was GUY not gut!

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:33 AM): Here I've busted my butt to create an identifiable online logo, and they don't feel it fits their format! Had to laugh about that one. Even the big boys don't know how to merchandise stuff.

PDXchris (3/15/99 9:33 AM): Anyway, work with a website, they're creating their own movie reviewers "Sparky and Roland".

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:34 AM): Anyway, Les, keep your release short, but you may want to consider headlining it with PCWorld's attention to your product: PCWORLD features <Name of Biz> for <doing what you do>

Louise ( (3/15/99 9:34 AM): Entered the room.

Mike Best (3/15/99 9:35 AM): creating your own celeb. same as branding...

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:35 AM): By positioning the release as news coming from one of their own (publication), you gain more credibility because you're showcasing an endorsement and not tooting your own horn

PDXchris (3/15/99 9:35 AM): Worked with a chemical company, was going for a consumer friendly web logo. They couldn't relate to the change in demographics.

Louise ( (3/15/99 9:35 AM): hi guys

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:35 AM): NOT THE SAME AS BRANDING, Mike...just the opposite. DISTRACTING from your brand

Les Cseh (3/15/99 9:35 AM): Wow .. a lot bolder than I'm used to being. I keep reading the two approaches to the media: don't bug 'em, they're so busy and make sure you follow up. I'm moving towards follow-up more and more ..

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:36 AM): Biggest mistake people make Les, is beating their own chests. Make the media think they're latching on to the Next big Thing and you'll be on Page one.

Mike Best (3/15/99 9:36 AM): what about the linux penguin- synonymous with linux - ample opportunity there for merchandising, etc

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:37 AM): The penguin is a logo. A logo is a visual symbol of a brand. But Linux is the brand....

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:38 AM): It may sound like hair-splitting, until someone sues them for using a penguin and they have to dump it...(for example)

Jacob (3/15/99 9:38 AM): I have to run now. See you all next week. Same Frankel time, same Frankel Place.

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:38 AM): Bye JS.

Terri (3/15/99 9:39 AM): bye Jacob

Mike Best (3/15/99 9:39 AM): Yeah! I get it, Rob. Not splitting hairs, fine distinction that I missed

PDXchris (3/15/99 9:39 AM): Hmm... logo vs. brand, guess I need to learn more about the branding. Do I earn CEU's?

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:40 AM): Don't confuse high awareness with branding -- lots of big companies do. But that's why they waste so much money on dopey ads. They don't know WHY they're advertising, or what.

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:40 AM): I'd award CEU's but I haven't found a university that'll take them!

Mike Best (3/15/99 9:40 AM): brand is the concept? the logo its expression? (3/15/99 9:41 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:41 AM): Yes, Mike that's closer to it.

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:41 AM): That way, once you've defined who and what you are, you can express it a number of ways, but you'll always BE that concept. So brands remain but the logos can change. (3/15/99 9:41 AM): These terms are so in vogue I almost hate to use them, but does having clearly defined mission and vision statements help with branding?

Mike Best (3/15/99 9:42 AM): Smoove, totally with that

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:42 AM): So tomorrow, I can change my obnoxious bobbing head to a pick up truck. My brand will lose some awareness, but people will still know what I do and how I do it.

Mike Best (3/15/99 9:43 AM): Articulated ... bobbing up and down?

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:43 AM): Good question Laurie. Mission statements tell you where you want to go. Brands tell you who you are and why you're the best at it.

Tom HAwkesworth (3/15/99 9:43 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:44 AM): You can usually tell you're dealing with a complete hack if they use those terms, incidentally. Whenever I hear certain terms like vision statement and mission, I know the client has no idea of what's going on...

PDXchris (3/15/99 9:44 AM): My client wants to change name from GemChemical to GeoClean because his graphic artist friend sez that gives him more to work with. Comment?

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:44 AM): Another of my favorites: Vice President of Sales & Marketing. translation: we're too poor to afford both, so we stuck this poor guy with everything.

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:45 AM): Sales and marketing are SO different, it's impossible to do both well. (3/15/99 9:45 AM): Except that the exercise IS useful, even if you torch it when you're done. I'm trying to figure out how one arrives at a brand - I've been at it for a year and still haven't settled into mine.

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:45 AM): My comment is that your client should find a new designer.

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:46 AM): And this is why I never give work to designers. Designers make things look good, but don't base their designs on business strategies. Good creative starts with good marketing strategy.

Anne Zieger (3/15/99 9:46 AM): Entered the room.

Louise ( (3/15/99 9:46 AM): me too; when graphic artists tell an established company that they need to change their name; it's NOT a good confidence builder..

Mike Best (3/15/99 9:46 AM): Brings me back to my earlier question about website designers and marketing nose

Scott Baker (3/15/99 9:46 AM): It does not bode well if the graphic designer has such a heavy influence on business operations

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:47 AM): I mean, what the hell does a designer know about motivating prospects toward a chemical company?

Anne Zieger (3/15/99 9:47 AM): Hi all

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:47 AM): Dead on, Scott. I feel the same way.

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:47 AM): Hi Anne. jump in any time...

PDXchris (3/15/99 9:48 AM): I gave him the name GemChemical to at least let the prospect know it's chemicals, and the supplier GEM has been around for 20 years.

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:48 AM): The problem is that we live in this "buzzword" age, where people say stuff and mean nothing. Half the time they don't even know what they're saying...

Anne Zieger (3/15/99 9:49 AM): My experience is that designers work best when they're given a few primary messages to execute (3/15/99 9:49 AM): Rob, how would you describe what you do and why you're the best at it in one sentence?

Anne Zieger (3/15/99 9:49 AM): so I can understand why they'd try to grab a message they can use

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:49 AM): Well, Chris, that's a MUCH better start than choosing a name like Florence Henderson, because you can design it better! Yeesh!

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:50 AM): Ever been to Laurie? It's right there.

Anne Zieger (3/15/99 9:50 AM): but it's *surely* bad medicine to let them redesign the message to their benefit

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:50 AM): Branding is not about getting your prospects to choose you over the competition; it's about getting them to see you as their only solution"

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:51 AM): Nobody else holds that view, but that's why I'm the best.

Anne Zieger (3/15/99 9:51 AM): Rob, too late to toss in my little branding problem? (3/15/99 9:51 AM): Ahh, there it is, the line I've been looking for - "only solution" - thanks!

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:52 AM): If anyone were to press further, I'd say that I create, strategize, integrate and execute more effectively than others.

Louise ( (3/15/99 9:52 AM): so what do you suggest if you are selling a commodity ( like wholesaling) Customers choose you because of location and price; I want them to choose me in spite of those things

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:52 AM): Laurie, if you ever can't find it, it's on every sig file of every e-mail I send.

PDXchris (3/15/99 9:52 AM): Yeah, my chem client in Florida we named "Lifetime Solutions" but steer clear, their MLM shams now.

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:52 AM): Good question, Louise: Here it comes:

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:53 AM): If YOU can articulate your brand clearly, your clients can articulate your brand, which means they know why they chose you over others.

Louise ( (3/15/99 9:54 AM): lost me..

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:54 AM): When they can articulate why they spent more for you than the others, it moves them OFF price point and gives them permission to defy conventional wisdom and spend more, or make an unpopular choice.

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:55 AM): A great brand immediately tells people why it's okay to choose them over the more popular choices.

Louise ( (3/15/99 9:55 AM): okay, got that.. so any tips on how to achieve that? I already provide an informational page.. my big competitor just keeps on following my lead, and she is bigger than I

Anne Zieger (3/15/99 9:55 AM): Does that constitute their being able to name, say, three reasons you're the right choice??

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:55 AM): (FIVE MINUTE WRNING)

Anne Zieger (3/15/99 9:55 AM): Does that constitute their being able to name, say, three reasons you're the right choice??

Anne Zieger (3/15/99 9:55 AM): oops

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:56 AM): If you're smaller, you don't outspend -- you out think. Are you building community? Developing ancillary programs? have you studied your competition and attacked their weaknesses?

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:56 AM): They only need one, Anne. But the more the merrier.

Louise ( (3/15/99 9:57 AM): I think I need help developing ancillary programs.. I had distributors, except I wasn't experienced enough to handle them, and they left

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:57 AM): And remember, Anne, the better people can articulate, the easier it is for them to EVALNGELIZE your brand. After all they want others to follow their leads...

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:58 AM): Lousie, we will be launching the FrankelBiz affiliate/marketing site this week. please take a look at it, it could be a big help to you, because it's branded as a FrankelBiz operation.

Louise ( (3/15/99 9:59 AM): hey Rob, maybe you ought to just call me Lou.. easier for you LOL

PDXchris (3/15/99 9:59 AM): Sign me up!

RobFrankel (3/15/99 9:59 AM): It will allow FrankelBees to put their products online and enlist other referrals by sales and leads. Combined with our group's ethics, I think this could do really well for you.

Les Cseh (3/15/99 9:59 AM): I've been anxiously awaiting your affiliate site .. looking forward to the announcement ..

Louise ( (3/15/99 9:59 AM): Rob, does that involve banner ads?

RobFrankel (3/15/99 10:00 AM): I kinda like the LOUSIE thing but as I said before, I run this all through spell check before posting it to archive...

RobFrankel (3/15/99 10:00 AM): Les, I promise that it will launch this week, probably Wednesday to allow the URL to update.

RobFrankel (3/15/99 10:01 AM): Okay, you guys, I've gotta run. But you are most welcome to continue as long as you want. You can also use this site to meet any time you like during the week. See you online!

Anne Zieger (3/15/99 10:01 AM): thanks Rob!

PDXchris (3/15/99 10:01 AM): Roger, outta here...

Terri (3/15/99 10:01 AM): Thanks Rob! this has been very informative AND fun!

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